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  1. #1
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    What is the front reflector for?

    Probably a typical newbie question, but I can't help wondering what purpose the front reflector serves. In the daytime, I don't think it matters much if at all. At night, you're supposed to use an active headlight. In fact, the local state law (Washington) doesn't say anything about front reflectors while it does say that a bike operated at night must have a red rear reflector. Am I missing something here?
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  2. #2
    Senior Member mtbikerinpa's Avatar
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    In Pa there is a requirement for passive and active front lighting, though most will not worry about it in the presence of an active light. The advantage is that if you have a weak light or none at all, it will return a brighter signature to the sender/ie car to alert for intersections or left turns.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbikerinpa View Post
    In Pa there is a requirement for passive and active front lighting, though most will not worry about it in the presence of an active light. The advantage is that if you have a weak light or none at all, it will return a brighter signature to the sender/ie car to alert for intersections or left turns.
    I see. That makes sense. It's interesting how state laws on bicycles differ.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

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    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    The CPSC has mandated the inclusion on all bikes since 1/1/1975. http://cs.cpsc.gov/ConceptDemo/Searc...cle+reflectors
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
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  5. #5
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    The CPSC has mandated the inclusion on all bikes since 1/1/1975. http://cs.cpsc.gov/ConceptDemo/Searc...cle+reflectors
    Would you mind elaborating on this? Do the CPSC regulations override state bicycle laws?
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  6. #6
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daihard View Post
    Would you mind elaborating on this? Do the CPSC regulations override state bicycle laws?
    Not an attorney, but I'll give this a shot.

    CPSC is Federal, so what they say goes. Manufacturers have no clue as to what bike will be sold in what State when it is built, so they go by the default minimum standard set by the CPSC. Also, though a bike may be required to have more stringent standards at the State level for riding at night, how is the Manufacturer/Distributor or the LBS supposed to know if the bike will be ridden at night? It is up to the End User to familiarize and comply with the law.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
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  7. #7
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daihard View Post
    Would you mind elaborating on this? Do the CPSC regulations override state bicycle laws?
    As I recall, the CPSC (federal) regulations require manufacturers, importers and retailers to make sure that every new bike has minimal passive lighting. They don't apply to actual use and operation of the bike--that's where state and local ordinances come in.


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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    As I recall, the CPSC (federal) regulations require manufacturers, importers and retailers to make sure that every new bike has minimal passive lighting. They don't apply to actual use and operation of the bike--that's where state and local ordinances come in.
    Correct. Consumer Product Safety Commission sets national standards for products sold. What you do with them afterward it out of their purview.

  9. #9
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    Not an attorney, but I'll give this a shot.

    CPSC is Federal, so what they say goes. Manufacturers have no clue as to what bike will be sold in what State when it is built, so they go by the default minimum standard set by the CPSC. Also, though a bike may be required to have more stringent standards at the State level for riding at night, how is the Manufacturer/Distributor or the LBS supposed to know if the bike will be ridden at night? It is up to the End User to familiarize and comply with the law.
    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    As I recall, the CPSC (federal) regulations require manufacturers, importers and retailers to make sure that every new bike has minimal passive lighting. They don't apply to actual use and operation of the bike--that's where state and local ordinances come in.
    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    Correct. Consumer Product Safety Commission sets national standards for products sold. What you do with them afterward it out of their purview.
    Thanks guys. I understand where they stand now.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  10. #10
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daihard View Post
    At night, you're supposed to use an active headlight. Am I missing something here?
    Uh - maybe because everybody doesn't follow the rules all of the time?

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    The German dynamo Head Lights are incorporating a reflector around them, too , for a passive reflection surface .

    some like the E Delux there is a reflector in the mount. , others Its surrounding the Light.


    but stupid can defy common sense..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 09-08-13 at 09:34 AM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Uh - maybe because everybody doesn't follow the rules all of the time?
    Maybe. I guess the reasoning there would be that people may not actively go out and buy an active light but wouldn't bother to take off the existing front reflector either.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  13. #13
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daihard View Post
    Maybe. I guess the reasoning there would be that people may not actively go out and buy an active light but wouldn't bother to take off the existing front reflector either.
    Exactly. They would passively leave the passive lighting alone. A lot of people lack the knowledge or don't have the funds to put real lights on their bikes. But most people would leave the standard reflectors alone, since people think they're kind of important.

    Decent LEDs front and back would cost as much as the new bike cost in some cases, especially if it's a discount store kids bike.


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  14. #14
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Decent LEDs front and back would cost as much as the new bike cost in some cases, especially if it's a discount store kids bike.
    Not unless the bike costs less than around $25. The output isn't 1200 lumens but it's pretty close to 600 lumens which is a very bright light.
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  15. #15
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Not unless the bike costs less than around $25. The output isn't 1200 lumens but it's pretty close to 600 lumens which is a very bright light.
    They keep getting cheaper! That will help a lot of us poor or frugal cyclists.


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  16. #16
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    They keep getting cheaper! That will help a lot of us poor or frugal cyclists.
    Even those of us who aren't poor can see the value in a 600 lumen light for that cheap. And new ones are coming along all the time.
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  17. #17
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Front reflectors, whether plastic reflector or reflective tape, are better than nothing at night if there is no headlight or if the headlight dies.
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